Associations between family presence and neonatal intubation outcomes: a report from the National Emergency Airway Registry for Neonates: NEAR4NEOS

Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2021 Jul;106(4):392-397. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2020-319709. Epub 2021 Jan 21.


Objective: Describe the current practice of family presence during neonatal tracheal intubations (TIs) across neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) and examine the association with outcomes.

Design: Retrospective analysis of TIs performed in NICUs participating in the National Emergency Airway Registry for Neonates (NEAR4NEOS).

Setting: Thirteen academic NICUs.

Patients: Infants undergoing TI between October 2014 and December 2017.

Main outcome measures: Association of family presence with TI processes and outcomes including first attempt success (primary outcome), success within two attempts, adverse TI-associated events (TIAEs) and severe oxygen desaturation ≥20% from baseline.

Results: Of the 2570 TIs, 242 (9.4%) had family presence, which varied by site (median 3.6%, range 0%-33%; p<0.01). Family member was more often present for older infants and those with chronic respiratory failure. Fewer TIs were performed by residents when family was present (FP 10% vs no FP 18%, p=0.041). Among TIs with family presence versus without family presence, the first attempt success rate was 55% vs 49% (p=0.062), success within two attempts was 74% vs 66% (p=0.014), adverse TIAEs were 18% vs 20% (p=0.62) and severe oxygen desaturation was 49% vs 52%, (p=0.40). In multivariate analyses, there was no independent association between family presence and intubation success, adverse TIAEs or severe oxygen desaturation.

Conclusion: Family are present in less than 10% of TIs, with variation across NICUs. Even after controlling for important patient, provider and site factors, there were no significant associations between family presence and intubation success, adverse TIAEs or severe oxygen desaturation.

Keywords: health services research; neonatology.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / adverse effects
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / methods
  • Intubation, Intratracheal / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Oximetry
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Oxygen